Graham Christensen, 33

Graham Christensen

Graham Christensen, 33

Vice president of market rate development at Douglaston Development

Graham Christensen, 33
By June 21, 2024 11:56 AM

When a high school AutoCAD drafting class clicked for Graham Christensen, he knew he had found his thing.

“I knew I wanted to do something that influenced the built environment,” Christensen said, “and, kind of circuitously, I found myself going from architecture to real estate development.”

After interning with a local architecture firm in high school, Christensen attended Connecticut College where he earned his dual bachelor’s degree in architectural studies and economics. A master’s in real estate development from Columbia University followed.

While earning his master’s, Christensen landed an internship with New York City multifamily developer Douglaston Development that turned into a full-time role as project manager after graduation. He’s been there for nine years, and has worked his way up to the title of vice president of market rate development.

Christensen’s first big project is one he’s still working on: 3Eleven, a 58-story, roughly 945,000-square-foot rental building near Hudson Yards with 938 mixed-income units. Christensen said it was his first time seeing a rezoning process up close, and it was a big learning experience.

“We always joke that all the easy places in Manhattan are built on,” Christensen said, adding that each project he works on brings its own set of unique challenges.

These days he’s also working on 1057 Atlantic Avenue, which will bring about 450 rentals to Brooklyn, and 1450 Third Avenue, a 39-story tower with 172 planned residences coming to the Upper East Side.

For Christensen, staying humble is a secret to success.

His strength is “listening and understanding that everyone in the room, oftentimes, is smarter at certain things than I am,” he said. That means “being comfortable putting my hand up when I don’t understand something, but also trusting that we’ve hired the right people to do the job and making sure they’re in a position to succeed.”

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